Schengen Visa for a First Timer Tourista in Europe - Approved!

Let me start with a little background info. This Europe plan was supposedly part of our annual winter trip, in Iceland to be exact. But due to unexpected denied vacation leaves, di ako nakasama. Ang sad no? Missed winter trip and missed Iceland plus sayang na effort for the visa requirement gathering. Depression level 3. 

And since I still have lots of vacation leaves which are soon to expire before Q2 of the year, I planned my own Europe trip - a summer version.


a different kind of summer


OK, game! The plan is to visit European countries so I needed a Schengen visa. This visa is valid for 26 countries. Check google for the boring info.

  First things first. Have your vacation leaves approved. This is so crucial. Sayang all efforts for visa requirement gathering if your leaves will get denied. Another lesson learned the hard way.

  Right after I secure my VL approvals, I immediately booked our tickets. Oh yes, no turning back. I know this is risky, but I cannot resist Singapore Airline's promo that time. Hehe Fine, low-EQ. We got our non-refundable round trip flights to Paris for P40,000. Should have been P35,000 pa nga but maybe there's a surcharge of P5,000 for weekend flights. No problemo! For an SQ flight, solid na tong price na to! Plus I never really had the slightest worry that we'll get denied anyway. Charot lang!

  Seriously, if I have to do it again, I will still book my flights prior to my visa application. Why? The flights get more expensive as the travel date gets near. Well, it's worth the risk since we saved around P20,000 or even more. Of course we could have settled for a less expensive airline to save money. Erm, not really our favorite option since it's gonna be more or less a 16-hour flight. Choose wisely. 

  So why Paris, France? Why not? 1. Cheap point of entry to Europe 2. Immediate visa appointment 3. Fast processing. 4. Good flight and train connections to everywhere.

However, I didn't say easy approval. It's just fast processing, meaning the release of passport won't take weeks or months like in Italian embassy. When you have doubts of getting your visa denied, try Iceland! Approval rate is 99%! Here's 2017 top 5 countries with highest and lowest approval rate

  Joke lang. You can't just choose any embassy. We scheduled our appointment at VFS - French Embassy because France is our point of entry and exit, plus we will be staying there the longest. Be mindful of this since it's really important to know which country will you be needing to apply for the schengen visa. Ours was even questioned because in our itinerary, it stated that we will be staying for equal days in France and Switzerland. Count wisely and justify, else you will have to reschedule with another embassy. Well, the Swiss Embassy is still OK afterall. 



Moving on, here's the list of the Schengen visa requirement I actually submitted. 

Application form thru VFS. Pagtyagaan to fill up. There's no shortcut. And prior to filling this applcation, have your mock hotel booking ready. This is needed in the application form.

All passports, old and new.

Photocopy of each passport's bio page, and pages with stamps and visas. But actually, I noticed that the VFS staff only collected the pages with visa. So ayun, sorry Maldives and Singapore stamps, wala kayong visa. Not relevant siguro for Schengen. Hehe

Round trip tickets. No problem here since we already booked our flights, even without a visa yet. Low EQ I know. Anyway, if you need to reserve flights but not pay for the actual flight yet, I recommend having a flight reservation thru Travelmaker Travel and Tour PH. Reserve flights for 3-6 days without actually paying for the flight. Reservation fee costs P500 for 5 flights. Good deal.

Travel Insurance. We got ours from Malayan Insurance for P1,650 (good for 24 days).

Day to day itinerary. I didn't use our real plan because it's not finalized yet. We used a very believable itinerary instead. Email me and I can share this with you.

Hotel reservations. Booking.com is gold for mock hotel bookings since cancellation is free. Again, these bookings are not the actual ones we used.

Bank Certificate from BPI. The most asked question is how much show money do I need for a schengen visa. Well, simply compute the number of days of your Europe trip x daily expenses + airfare + some extra so you won't get broke after the trip. In our case, 17 days x P5,000 daily expense + P40,000 airfare + P50,000 spare money. Do the math. At hula ko lang yan yan sympre. I think the money in your bank does not really make or break the decision of having a visa.

Bank Statement from BPI. Bundle with bank certificate if you request from BPI. P100 for both.

COE with monthly salary, tenure, and approved leaves. Told you, having your leaves approved is important. This stated my date of return to work once this vacation is over.

Latest ITR. I pay taxes, unfortunately.

Aside from the requirement, I also submitted these extras:

Notarized Contract to Sell documents and Receipts from DMCI. 

Life Insurance and Mutual Funds from Sunlife

Portfolio in COL Financial



Submission and Release
We picked a morning schedule and it was a breeze. After the collection of requirement, a few questions, and the biometrics part - we're done! If the requirements are complete, it will be easy. For this trip, we requested a single entry visa for 17 days. By the way, no need to pay the SMS or Email fee for notification since VFS website has a real time tracking tool. It's free.

Fees
Visa Fee EUR 60 (PHP 3,730) + VFS logistics fee PHP 1,370. Total = PHP 5,100


VFS Online Tracking

Under Processing



Ready for Release


Ready for Europe
Just after 2 days, we tracked our visa and these were ready for pick up!
To our surprise, we're granted a multiple entry schengen visa for 25 days, wow! This means we can get out of the Schengen area and make a re-entry.


multiple entry schengen visa for a first timer

 

And just like that, Morocco became officially part of our trip. Strong contenders were UK and Russia. Morocco has been on my bucket list like Japan and India so I have no doubts dropping the French and Italian alps in exchange of the Sahara Desert. Fares to Morocco from Manila are so expensive unlike if flying from Europe.

So ayun, it's gonna be Europe + Africa now, amazing! 



Up next: detailed expenses for the Europe and Morocco trip

9 responses:

Carla said...

Happy for you, Chyng! Di ko alam kung maiiyak ako sa fulfilled dreams or sa fact na nag blog ka ulit eh. Haha. Abangan ko nest posts 😘

Michi said...

Wala sa bucket list ko ang dessert pero ang ganda ng mga pix mo ng dessert, parang gusto ko na rin i-add. :) True, mabilis sa VFS Norway/Iceland mag-apply. Last year, Tues kami nagpasa, Thurs may email na agad and pick-up na namin passport the following day.

edelweiza said...

Galing naman, Chyng! Babalikan ko tong guide mo if and when mag-apply ako Schengen visa. Salamat sa reliable travel info na lagi mo shineshare dito. Saya-saya ng mga European photos mo sa FB! :)

khantotantra said...

zomg!!! woooow!
Kailangan kong kumayod for the tix hahahaha.
Pero aabangan ko ang next kaganapan sa iyong travel.

Bryan Veloso said...

How did you track your application? https://www.vfsvisaonline.com/global-passporttracking seems to be inaccessible. O__O

Chyng said...

try this

https://www.vfsvisaonline.com/Global-Passporttracking/Track/Index?q=shSA0YnE4pLF9Xzwon/x/L0Zw6pOIHwtNWdHCtqAfK0=

Unknown said...

hello! where did you find the tracking id number? thanks!

dorothy said...

Chyng,

How's Morocco? Planning on going but quite hesitant because I'll be doing it solo.
You think kaya? Thanks!

Arvin U. de la Peña said...

salamat sa pagiging bahagi ng blog ko sa 10 years...celebrating 10 years, Written Feelings....

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